In the US, there are many questions and few answers, especially in matters that Americans consider to be “fateful.” Some of these issues do not matter to us because they are already not raised here, such as the Supreme Court’s review of Roe v. Wade, the abortion law stipulating a woman’s freedom to choose to have an abortion because the fetus is part of her body. Some others do not matter much to us but may have an impact on the American state, which does matter to us; and as such, we are inclined to follow them.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
These include the question of restricting or preventing filibuster, which has become an essential tool to oppose legislations. This right was originally established to protect minorities’ right of expression. It gave them the right to speak in the Senate, with a two-thirds majority (67 senators) needed to break the filibuster. In 1971, this number was brought down to 60 votes, a barrier that forces the majority to negotiate with the minority to reach common ground.
In reality, reaching common ground has become impossible, and the closure of the federal government has become a possibility. No agreements can be reached anymore except temporary ones. The Supreme Court is at the helm of the vigorous judicial authority in the US that creates a balance between the executive and legislative authorities. However, unlike the other authorities, the Court is not time-bound, and its appointed judges serve justice their whole lives.
Although the US Constitution did not specify the number of Supreme Court justices, decades of practice have settled the number on nine judges, usually divided between liberals and conservatives. Since the President appoints the judges, former President Donald Trump hit the jackpot: during his term, the Court had six conservatives and three liberals. Democrats, for their part, are stingy: they want to restrict or cancel the filibuster; but they are also generous in their effort to increase the number of Supreme Court judges so as to achieve a balance that prevents the American judicial system from falling apart.
All these questions have no answers yet. But the hardest yet hottest question is: will former President Donald Trump run for president in 2024? Although Trump has spared no time or opportunity to hint that he will be the GOP’s presidential candidate in 2024, he has yet to make such an outright statement. More so, he seems to be enjoying the current state of things. Those close to Trump are confident he will run, but they also know that everything the man does is with the intention to reinforce his voting base. At this stage of the competition with Biden, his non-announcement of his candidacy brings his base closer to him, because they love and support him whether he’s in the White House or outside it.
Trump also wishes to achieve two key objectives for his political future. The first is taking over the GOP completely by getting rid of his opponents and achieving victory for those among his supporters who will run for the House or Senate in 2022 or for other major positions in the states such as governor or other key elected positions. The second is getting rid of all his contenders in the Republican primaries: Trump wants to be the GOP candidate while running his election battle against the Democratic nominee, be it Biden or someone else. His tools to achieve this are an absolute rejection of all Republicans who play on both sides, build bridges with Democrats, or support his current rival Liz Cheney, a key GOP leader who represents moderate Republicans and whose gender, moderation, and resistance to Trump’s power and domination give her significant advantages.
Trump’s tools to reach the White House begin with doubting the results of the last presidential election, something that Americans collectively hate. His main excuse for his loss and Biden’s victory is election fraud and votes being cast by people not allowed to vote or deceased people. However, Trump has not achieved any win in the claims he filed in states, nor in the repeated reviews conducted by independent investigation offices, nor in the recounts conducted in several states. All the claims he submitted failed, sometimes increasing hostility against him and the GOP, because his rejection of election results does not stop at his jabs at Democrats or the electoral system or the mail-in voting process, but rather extends to hundreds of Americans who work in elections, some of whom in a judicial capacity whose integrity is hard to question. Although Trump likely knows all this, his continued repetition of these accusations suggests that Trump believes that repeating a lie over and over again might eventually make it true.
The other side of Trump’s campaign focuses on the Democratic Party’s failure, or the failure of President Biden personally, especially in topics like the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the approval of the state budget, the failure to enact the infrastructure bill, or the recent COVID-19 figures, as a higher death toll was recorded this year under Biden than in the same period last year under Trump.
Two factors increase Trump’s chances. First, Democratic progressives are exerting pressure on President Biden. Now, any legislation the President proposes faces resistance not only from Republican lawmakers, but also from a strong current of moderate Democrats. This progressive pressure makes it easier to accuse the Democratic Party of turning into a socialist party. The second factor is that Trump’s strengthening of his voting base through increased pressure on Biden makes right-wing Republicans more committed to voting for Trump and sees them cling further to him and racing to get on his good side with funds and votes.
On top of his insistence on the failure of Democrats, the latter themselves are validating the picture he had always painted of the Democratic Party as the party with the bigger spending, the weaker foreign policy (although Trump himself supported and resolved to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Middle East), and the inclination to easily surrender in negotiations. In this context, Biden’s easy return to the table of negotiations with Iran gave Trump the chance to poke at the laxity of the Democratic Party.
Does this mean Trump will return to the White House on 20 January 2025? Probably not. Trump still has many sins and guilts under his cloak, many of which were translated into lawsuits that could eventually lead to his indictment. Not to mention that his own family and relatives take turns publishing books that incriminate him in humanitarian and judicial matters. Bob Woodward’s latest book Peril talks of the incredible risk that Trump’s presence poses on America.
This article was originally published in, and translated from, pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.
New regional peace
How does the US perceive its interest?
What happened to the United States?